Herald: Officers demand halt to army cuts

#1
http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/47924.html

17,500 short? 8O

SENIOR serving and former army officers appealed yesterday to the Ministry of Defence to halt planned cuts in frontline manpower until an emergency assessment of Britain's expanding military commitments can be carried out.
The group, several of whom are brigadiers or above, are forbidden to speak out publicly under Queen's Regulations.
They say Treasury-driven decisions last year to axe four desperately-needed infantry battalions were taken before the UK found itself facing a potential militia uprising in Iraq and the imminent deployment of a 5000-strong combat brigade to Afghanistan.
Both are at least medium-term commitments which will tie up more than half of the UK's 102,000 soldiers, and all its main fighting assets such as armoured vehicles and helicopters, as units become embroiled in a rolling programme of tours of duty.
The prime minister and John Reid, the defence secretary, confirmed last week that there were no plans to reduce the 8500-strong garrison in Iraq and military sources say it might have to be reinforced if Shi'ite unrest and attacks on thinly stretched UK forces escalate.
They also point out that no- one knows the extent of the threat from Islamic militants to the security of Britain's nuclear power stations, water supplies and strategic bases such as Faslane on the Clyde.
One of the officers said: "We are being muzzled over the contentious issues of defence spending and its impact on the army's future structure.
"We were effectively 17,500 men short of the numbers needed to fulfil our normal cycle of operations, training and rest periods when the army's executive board rubber-stamped plans for a four-battalion reduction.
"There are effectively no reinforcements immediately available if the 2.5 million Shi'ite Iraqis decide to stage a rebellion against our 8500 soldiers in and around Basra.
"The government needs to conduct an interim defence review to define military priorities and to become acquainted with realities on the ground. There are no soldiers left in the toybox to meet emergencies on the battlefield or in the event of a national emergency like another outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, far less a terrorist bombing campaign."
Colonel Clive Fairweather, a former deputy commander of the SAS, added: "A review might show that we need more intelligence capability rather than more infantry. But what is crystal clear is that we do not have any reserves right now to deal with the unexpected."
Colonel Tim Collins, the Royal Irish Regiment colonel who captured world headlines with his eve-of-invasion speech in 2003, said: "We have already cannibalised our armoured fighting vehicles and artillery in Germany to keep those in Iraq in running order and are breaching trust with the Territorial army by using it to plug holes in the front line.
"We need a truce with the Whitehall decision-makers until at least next March until we can see the way forward."
An MoD spokeswoman said: "The army modernisation programme is specifically designed to deal better with simultaneous operations.
"As a result of recent changes, the army is designed to be able to meet planned commitments in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans and elsewhere in the world, while also retaining the deployable military capability needed to respond to other contingent operations."
 
#2
I think if the situation is so serious these senior officers still serving need to find a LOUD way of voicing their concerns but not break QR's. I remember the Irish army used their wives as the officers themselves could not speak out.
 
#3
The group, several of whom are brigadiers or above, are forbidden to speak out publicly under Queen's Regulations.
I doubt that the Regulations were made namely by her Majesty. Some unknown clerks in fact have invented them. So why the Queen was mentioned. Why can't be these regulations simply one of laws (passed by parliament)?
 
#4
Some figures, please bear with me:


Our current Infantry operational commitments are as follows:

Iraq: 5 x Battalions
Afghanistan: 1 x Battalion
NI (Non-Resident battalions): 1 x Battalion
FRY: 1 x Battalion

TOTAL Commitment: 8 x Battalions, each away for 6 months.

I haven't even mentioned the Independent Coy Commitments (2 x Coys in Iraq, 1 in FI - effectively another Battalion) or what happens if the HRR Battalion deploys. Furthermore I haven't taken into account future commitments such as Afghanistan etc.

Current policy is that you should get a MINIMUM of two years off between each 6 month tour in order to train and have some sort of quality of life. In other words the Infantry should only have 20% of its strength deployed at any one time. Therefore in order to support this 8 x Battalion commitment, you need a force of... 40 x battalions. At present there are 40 battalions in the British Army plus 3 Commandos in the RM, giving a total of 43 deployable Infantry units. However we're now going to be cut to 39; even if we get out of NI and FRY, we're still only going to release 2 x Units for future operations. Can somebody please explain how this makes us better and more deployable?

I know that this isn't news to anybody, but for a Government obsessed with statistics and targets I think that this makes our current anger a bit more understandable.

Incidentally there's no need to edit this post - all the information quoted is in the public domain.
 
#5
KGB_resident said:
The group, several of whom are brigadiers or above, are forbidden to speak out publicly under Queen's Regulations.
I doubt that the Regulations were made namely by her Majesty. Some unknown clerks in fact have invented them. So why the Queen was mentioned. Why can't be these regulations simply one of laws (passed by parliament)?
Despite what Tony Bliar believes and his intentions to disolve it, this Great Country of Ours is still a Monarcy. We, as Soldiers are responsible to the Queen first and HER Government second. The Oath that these Officers signed and the Queen's commision that they hold prevents them from speaking out, not for fear of the regulations. It's about pride, duty and belief in the Army that allows them to maintain their dignity. There endith the lesson!
 
#6
Quite so, Bravo2Nothing. One has got to explain occasionally to our Russian friend and other johnny foreigners how our system is.
 
#7
Vonshot said:
I think if the situation is so serious these senior officers still serving need to find a LOUD way of voicing their concerns but not break QR's. I remember the Irish army used their wives as the officers themselves could not speak out.
That's correct, Vonshot, this was over pay around 15 years ago.

I imagine cutting battalions will not only affect operational committments, but will also have an effect on recruitment (as has already been mentioned here). Is the situation in Iraq affecting recruitment in any serious way as recruitment is being affected in the US?
 
#8
I though the acceptable thing to do was to resign, then speak out?

Not enough senior officers ballsy enough to do that, or do they feel that they are better of staying in and trying to influence things that way?
 
#9
Spanner said:
I though the acceptable thing to do was to resign, then speak out?

Not enough senior officers ballsy enough to do that, or do they feel that they are better of staying in and trying to influence things that way?
Ummm, Tim Collins, to a degree? This is the perennial question. The first time I came up against it was in the mid seventies when Service pay was horrendously bad and we were losing people in droves. The (reported) meeting of the then Chiefs of Staff contained the suggestion that they should resign rather than continue to implement Government policy. The (alledged) response was that they shouldn't do so as they would simply be replaced by men who would obey. Now, take your choice: they were either honourable men who elected to fight from within the system or they were time serving apparachiks concerned for their future honours and sinecures once they left the Service.........
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#10
KGB_resident said:
The group, several of whom are brigadiers or above, are forbidden to speak out publicly under Queen's Regulations.
I doubt that the Regulations were made namely by her Majesty. Some unknown clerks in fact have invented them. So why the Queen was mentioned. Why can't be these regulations simply one of laws (passed by parliament)?
um....its nothing to do with the present monarch Cagey.......Queen's Regulations is the name for Service law ( individual to each Service) ..... when the monarch is male they are called King's Regs......but I doubt there are any serving personnel who have known anything but Queen's Regs( invariably shortened to QRs) in their lifetime , as Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne since 1952.

I suspect the original Queen's Regs date back to Queen Victoria's accession in 1837, unless a copy was issued under Queen Anne in the early 18th Century.

PS: who does this guy remind you of Tovarisch ?


Slava Bogu !


Lee Shaver
 

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